1

tortoiseshell

play
noun tor·toise·shell \ ˈtȯr-tə-ˌshel , -əsh-ˌshel \

Definition of tortoiseshell

1 :the mottled horny substance of the shell of the hawksbill turtle used especially formerly in inlaying and in making various ornamental articles
2 or tortoiseshell butterfly :any of several showy nymphalid butterflies (genera Nymphalis and Aglais) that have wings mottled with orange and brown or black

Recent Examples of tortoiseshell from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tortoiseshell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of tortoiseshell

1632


2

tortoiseshell

adjective

Definition of tortoiseshell

1 :made of or resembling tortoiseshell especially in mottled brown and yellow coloring
  • tortoiseshell glasses
2 :of, relating to, or being a color pattern of the domestic cat consisting of patches of black, orange, and cream

Recent Examples of tortoiseshell from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tortoiseshell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of tortoiseshell

1651


TORTOISESHELL Defined for English Language Learners

tortoiseshell

play
noun

Definition of tortoiseshell for English Language Learners

  • : the usually brown and yellow shell of a turtle that is used to make decorations

  • : a cat with yellow, orange, white, and black fur

  • : a usually brown and orange butterfly


TORTOISESHELL Defined for Kids

tortoiseshell

play
noun tor·toise·shell \ ˈtȯr-təs-ˌshel \

Definition of tortoiseshell for Students

1 :a hard brown and yellow material that covers the shell of a sea tortoise used especially in the past for ornamental objects
2 :a brightly colored butterfly


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